15 June 2020
sponsored by Southern Construction Framework (SCF)
The M23 J8-10 SMP Kier Highways team have continually demonstrated dedication to ensuring their scheme delivers successfully, whilst balancing construction requirements with the needs of customers, the businesses, communities and individuals living close to the scheme - ensuring all benefit from a great customer experience. With their strategic location between London and Gatwick, one of the UK's largest airports, it has been imperative from the start that communications with customers are both constructive and collaborative.
They have developed close working relationships with Gatwick Airport and Network Rail, sharing resources and experiences to ensure a joined-up regional travel strategy for customers between road, rail and air providers. These links with other organisations help them to be flexible and react to change in a positive way.
In dealings with the customer, their approach is proactive, aiming to make an empathetic and positive impact. They regularly holding face to face meetings with local stakeholder groups and personally visit any local residents with concerns to allay fears and seek resolution.
They volunteered to trial Highway England's new social media platform ‘Commonplace’. They used the platform from February 2019 and presented trial findings to the Highways England directors in summer 2019. Positive feedback gained during this presentation ensured further Highways England schemes will benefit from the opportunity to use this tool to support local residents. Their customer team have continued to implement Commonplace and assist in training others to effectively use this tool, giving the public a modern method of providing feedback to schemes.
All their efforts recently culminated in the M23 J8-10 SMP receiving just one ‘Highways England Information Line call’ (HAIL) during a full 36-hour closure of the Gatwick spur road - recognised by both Highways England and Gatwick Airport.
Hannah Godfrey, Gatwick Airport: ‘We have a highly effective working relationship with open, honest conversations, always leading to excellent collaborative problem-solving. The project quickly responds to any issues Gatwick raise and together we have found solutions. Monthly meetings underpin these relationships, enabling all parties to work collaboratively to minimise the impact of ongoing work, plan for disruption and effectively communicate this to airport passengers, staff and road users. Congratulations and thank you on the Gatwick spur closure at the weekend. It was the best that we have seen. We received no complaints and think the communications effort was excellent.'
Anthony Wooller, Emergency Planning Officer SE Highways England RCC: ‘We have had early engagement from the project team enabling us to build an honest and open relationship, letting us work effectively and safely to achieve goals. By having this open relationship, we challenge ideas and understand each other’s thought process so that we can meet customers’ needs. The communication from the project team to us and our stakeholders has been excellent, and this has built great trust between all.’
Orlagh Ennis, Network Rail Stakeholder Engagement Manager: ‘We have worked well with the SMP to ensure that when roads are closed the rail is open and vice versa, so we have really for the first time worked together to put the customer first.’
About the Outstanding Customer Satisfaction Award:
In the best companies, the customer drives everything. These companies really understand and then provide precisely what the end customer needs, when the customer needs it and at a price that reflects the product’s value to the customer. Activities which do not add value from the customer’s viewpoint can be classified as waste and eliminated.